tv Meet the Press MSNBC May 16, 2010 2:00pm-3:00pm EDT
for all of us at nbc news, good this sunday a critical moment in the future and direction of the supreme court. the president's nominee elena kagan has storted to make rounds on capitol hill. now two keys in if kagan will become another chief justice. senator schumer of new york and senator mitch mcconnell of kentucky. then our political round table weighs in on the huge week this year. key senate primary battles in pennsylvania, kentucky, and arkansas. and a special election to fill john murtha's seat in pennsylvania. what is behind the anti incumbent ways?
39 years ago where the debate stood by nominating a woman to sit on the high court. from nbc news in washington "meet the press" can with david gregory. good morning. the 26 days after the bp oil rig explosion in the gulf, another attempt to stop the massive oil leak failed yesterday as bp try ad procedure to siphon oil to a ship. but the pipe connection didn't work. this is federal officials sought assurances from bp that it will live up to its promise to cover individual compensation exclaims. with us to discuss this and a host of other issues, washington is now con fronting, new york senator chuck schumer. welcome back to "meet the press." >> glad to be back. the president spoke about bp, he spoke about the oil spill on friday. he got mad. >> i know bp has committed to pay for the response effort. we will hold them to our obligation. i have to say, though, i did not appreciate what i considered to be a ridiculous spectacle during
the congressional hearings into this matter. executives of bp and transocean falling over each other to point the finger of blame at somebody else. the american people could not have been impressed with that display, and i certainly wasn't. >> he got angry. now what should the government be doing, senator? >> well, a couple things. you have to make sure bp pays for the whole thing. >> should there be any cap? >> i don't think there should be. there's an effort in congress to remove the cap, and i think it will be pass? >> what else? is it a question of more regulation? >> i think it is. the president, to his credit, said the federal watchdog wasn't a good enough watchdog. there ought to be a fail-safe mechanism. if you don't have it, look at the damage. it can last for years and years
and years. it changes the politics. look at a climate change bill. it will be harder to get one done, given that drilling off the coast was part of the compromise. >> right. and the president was for the compromise. look at our "wall street journal" poll. offshore drilling is still popular. 60% say they support it. yet, the politics are bad on this now. >> well, tough to come up with assurances, people,that this wouldn't happen again. just before this happened, people would come in and say nothing bad has happened in the gulf for 30 or 40 years. it changes the balance. my guess is gradually the poll numbers will reflect that. it's killing us economically, foreign policy wise and everything else to take people, countries like iran and venezuela that hate us and make
us rich. everybody is looking new at domestic sources of clean energy production. people are looking at others, nuclear, offshore, things like that. that's going to continue. but people want to make sure that if we're going to do it it's going to be better and safer than what happened in the gulf. >> let me turn to elena kagan. she worked for senator biden, who was chairman at the time. there she is. she had pretty direct things to say about it. this was an article she pinned for the university of chicago law review during in which she said if recent hearings lack acrimony, they also lack seriousness and substance. when they cease to have meaningful discussion on legal issues, the confirmation process takes on the air of vacuita and farce. you've met with her. do you think she's prepared to reveal more than she may otherwise about her legal views
and philosophies. >> yeah, i think that's the right thing to do. i said that when there were republican nominees for george bush, and i believe it with democratic nominees. these should not be a farce and what's your favorite movie or restaurant. they should talk about judicial ideology and philosophy. obviously you can't pry to pin someone down on what may be an upcoming case. but knowing how they think, how they reason, what's their view of settled law, these are all very legitimate questions, and the hearings would be much less if they weren't asked. >> what do you specifically want to know? >> well, the first thing i want to know is just how she balances things. what i really like about elena kagan is she's a practical person. we have eight justices who were judges above all. sometimes when you have people way up there in that rarefied ivory tower, they forget the practical consequences of their decisions. on businesses, on local governments on people. someone who ran a legal business, harvard law school
which she ran by all reports very well. $160 million budget. >> pretty rarefied. >> it's a lot of practical concerns. one of the things she had to do is bring the conservative and liberal factions together and both sides said she did a very good job. so i want to see how, and i hope, and it's my hope and belief this practical person will help bring the court down to earth a little bit. >> well, talk about that. what does she mean for the overall direction of the court? >> well -- >> is she a liberal, or is she a moderate? >> look, i think she tends to be a moderate when you look at her writings. i think that's less important. when the president called me and asked me what was the number one criteria for a nominee, this was before he chose kagan. i said i think it should be somebody who will be in the majority of five rather than the minority of four. someone will have not only the intellect and everyone says she's brilliant, but the force of personality, the practicality to try to create coalitions.
i think a lot of us, at least on the democratic side were shocked by the citizens united case. for instance. >> just remind people. >> this was the case that said unlimited corporate money could flow into our politics, undisclosed in any way, and it's really -- i mean the first amendment is important, but so is the sanctity of our political process so the average person has a say. i was shocked at this. maybe a kagan on the court could have persuaded a justice ken dethat the abstract notion of first amendment triumphs and everything has a balance. the balance is the practical effects of that. my hope would be she would do it. that's what i'm looking for. >> there are liberals who are concerned about her view of executive power, that she may be closer to the bush administration, frankly, on what the executive can do with regard to a war on terror. she may hold up views that the obama administration has put forward with regard to a robust
executive power with regard to the war on terror. is that a concern? >> it's certainly a concern. it will be an area of questioning. but again, i think that elena kagan, as both brilliant and practical, those are the two watch words that i would ascribe to her, look at her record, as i have a little bit, meeting her this week. it will sort of come to a balance. i like balance. i don't like judges too far right, but i don't like them too far left. they tend to want to impose their own views and ideologies. >> the republican say she's a blank slate. >> she doesn't have jew zisudic experience, she's hardly a blank slate. you look at all of her writings. she wrote many articles as a professor. what she did when she was working in the clinton white house, that's all going to be available. freedom of information to the kennedy library on the clinton library has been put forward. there will be plenty of information about her. this idea that she has to be a
judge and have judicial writing, some of our greatest judges had no judicial experience. justice marshall, justice jackson. rehnquist, who many conservatives would consider a great justice had about as much judicial experience as kagan has. >> couple issues, terrorism and homeland security has been a hot button issue for you and many new yorkers. this is from the new york post. obama to new york: drop dead. that was the message team obama september loud and clear yesterday. you put out a blistering statement as well. we'll put that up on the screen, for the administration to announce the cuts two weeks after the attempted times square bombing shows they just don't get it and are not doing right by new york city on anti terrorism funding. secretary napolitano says newark has unused anti-terror money available to it now. and you have additional stimulus
money. what's at issue here? >> two things. first, it's changed. we learned with the christmas bomber, abdulmutallab and the horrible incident in times square, new york is the number one target. and second, that there's a group. pakistan taliban that has the capability of trying to do something. they came all too close. so the funding should change. should new york get only 12% of the port anti-terrorism security funding? secretary napolitano points out not all the money is spent. that's how washington works. a lot of the money hasn't been spent. fema, an agency under the jurisdiction of homeland security hasn't spent it. >> if you haven't spent all the money, why don't you need more now. >> we've spent it.
it hasn't been spent out. when you do a three-year contract to put in radiation detectors. she says years two and three haven't been spent yet, that's true, but they've been accounted for. when fema, a federal agency, is holding it up, you can't blame that's true. people don't like the way washington works. here's what i think, david, the president gets it. he came to new york. he showed responsibility. what happened here is sort of bureaucrats and make homeland security were doing business as usual, following through on a formula that had been put in place before december. we have a new round of anti-terror funding, the largest pot. i've asked the administration, i've spoke on the the highest levels, to move new york's percentage up from 18 to 25, which is what it was in 2005. if we do that we can make up for these cuts, and i think the mayor, myself, peter king would be happy. >> the attorney general eric holder was here last sunday.
he refused to say if khalid m e muhammad will be tried in new york or not. >> i think the chances of him being tried in new york zero. that will be a question they have to decide. >> what do you think, though? >> well, here's what i think. i'm tough on terrorism. i wrote the federal death penalty law to give death penalty to terrorists. what's the quickest and best way to do that? we ought to defer to the experts on that. >> final part is politics. look what our poll found about preferred elections. evenly split, 44 and 44, republicans have come way back. job approval for congress, not so good. 72% disapprove in our poll. should democrats be concerned about this going into november? >> of course we should. that's why we have to focus number one on the issue that americans care most about. jobs in the economy. we are doing that. the stimulus, which was
unpopular at first, now if you look at the polls is getting more popular. it's having its effect. financial reform, good strong financial reform will have an effect. the american people are generally optimistic. the reason the numbers are so low is because for the first time in this recession, americans said we're never going to get out of this. if by labor day they start seeing light at the end of the tunnel, not that we're there yet, but i can see where we're going to get there, we're going to do a lot better than people think. that's what the numbers seem to indicate economically are going to happen. >> senator specter, win or lose in the primary? >> i bet he wins by a little. >> joining us now from louisville, kentucky, senator republican leader mitch mcconnell. welcome back to the program. >> good morning, david. >> i would like to begin with the kagan nomination. you have questioned her qualifications suggesting
correctly that she does not have judicial experience, she's never been a judge. back during the ill fated no, ma'am nomination of harriet myers you said the following -- i rious levels of governmentat the highest levels ohe legal she wasn't a judge either. and yet you were for her. >> well, i think we learned from the harriet myers situation that when you're a friend of the president and don't have any judicial experience, it makes it important to make sure you're not going to be a rubber stamp for the administration we've had plenty of supreme court justices who have done an outstanding job. it just raises a red flag. frankly i'm more troubled by two other things. number one, the case that chuck schumer mentioned. the citizens united case, which was a blow nor the first amendment.
a very important free speech case. solicitor kagan's office in the initial hearing argued that it would be okay to ban books. and then when there was a roadway hearing, solicitor kagan herself and her first supreme court argument suggested that it might be okay to ban pamphlets. i think that's very troubling. and this whole area of her view of the first amendment and political speech is something that ought to be explored by the judiciary committee and by the full senate. secondly, there's the issue of the military recruitment at harvard. she took the position that harvard should not allow military recruiters at the law school. later supported that position in a decision in a case in the court system that ended up with a supreme court ruling 8-0 against the position that she took. i think these are two areas that need to be explored, and will be explored by the committee. >> i want to unpack that ha little bit, senator.
are you then satisfied that she has the level of qualifications to be on the supreme court? >> that's what we go into in the hearings. there will be lots of records reviewed from her time at the clinton administration, from her time at chicago law school, at harvard law school. we need to let the process play out here. not a rush to judgment. >> don't you think a lot of people look at washington and say this is the kind of politics i hate? you stood up for harriet myers. you stood up with her despite the fact she was a friend with her. she didn't have the experience. but wait a minute, these are real problems with a democrat. >> look, david, the republicans treated supreme court nominees a lot better than the democrats have. i can't think of anyone treated the way clarence thomas was. the way sam alito was, who was filibustered by the president, the vice president, the
democratic leader, and the chairman, the ranking member of the judiciary committee. i've never filibuster ad supreme court nomination. >> and do you think there's any impediment to elena kagan being confirmed this time around? >> i think we need to find out what her record is. that's why the hearings are not a sham. they're serious hearings. to the record will be developed and then the members of the committee and subsequently the senate will have an opportunity to el us how they feel about it. >> let's go to the other concern you raised about her position on the military. she's dean of harvard law school. she opposes military recruitment on campus because of the anti-discrimination policy she was supporting with regard to the prohibition against gays and lesbians in the military. do you think that position makes her a radical? >> you left out the most important point, and that was the law. the amendment required that military recruiters be allowed
on campus, or the university give up their federal funding. so i think a more appropriate response might have been to follow the law. i think it's something we're going to look into at the committee. because the decision was apparently made that we'll take our chances by not allowing the recruiters. >> but they did have access to students with other veterans groups associateded with campus do you think as some republicans have suggested that she has radical views about the military, or do you think that's an overstatement and unfair? >> look, i don't know. all we know is the issue with regard to the soloman commitment. >> let me turn to the issue of the bp oil spill. the president was angry after the appearance by ceos on capitol hill, including the ceo of bp.
there ought to be more effort by the government to look over the shoulders of the oil company. what do you sha? >> we're all angry about it. this is an environmental disaster of huge proportions. the president spent a lot of time pointing the finger at bp. we're also interested to know what the administration did. was the management service a part of this administration? that approved this sight? it also approved this spill response plan. what kind of oversight did the administration provide during the course of the drilling? there will be adequate time to answer these questions. the administration's part in this will be a big part of the inquiry. in the meantime, we need to do everything we to stop this spill. >> what about the issue of legitimate claims as bp said it will honor. do you think the cap for damages should be higher now?
higher than $75 million as you heard schumer say they would propose? >> the danger is if you raise the cap too high, there will be no competition in the gulf. you'll leave all the business to the big guys like bp. what bp has said they need o be healthy. they're going to pay for this. they ought to pay for it. they will pay for it. but the danger is you end up with only massive, very large oil producers able to meet that cap and produce in the gulf. we can't walk away from off-shore drilling. as horrible as this is, it's important to remember we have 30% of our oil from the gulf, and if you shut that down, you would have $14 gasoline. >> let me move onto kentucky politics. this is the race that you've been engaged in the senate primary between the secretary of state of kentucky.
that's grey son. from the tea party movement. right now, senator, as you know rand paul is up double digits. the "washington post" said the old kentucky reign. it depends on how much voters like mcconnell. you have really put yourself out on a limb in this race. and the voters appear to be rejecting that. is this a refer duendum. >> that reminds me of when the president went to massachusetts. he tried to elect the candidate running against scott brown. i don't think anybody seriously thinks the president won't capture massachusetts next time. there have been a lot of discussions about incumbancy. we don't have it on the line in kentucky. we have two nonincumbents running for an open seat. unof our senators is supporting
one candidate. one is supporting the other candidate. whichever runs the best race will be the nominee. in terms of the kentucky scene, we'll have a unity rally at the state party headquarters next saturday. to get behind the winner. and win in november. >> you're not going to be in kentucky on election night are you? >> well, the senate is in session on tuesday. i'll be at state headquarters next saturday with the winner. we'll all lock arms and go out and win in november. >> you're suggesting your efforts to help greyson have not paid off? >> i don't know who is going to win. i hope it will help. i think greyson will be stronger candidate in november. i suspect kentucky will be in a pretty republican mood this fall. i'm optimistic whoever wins the primary will be the next senator from kentucky. >> what does it say about the strength of the pea party movement? it's certainly been in evidence in the support for rand paul. >> i think so. it's an important movement in
the country. it's really going to help us in november. >> president obama has made the point and begun to frame the argument for the midterm race. he did it at a campaign event the other night about how republicans will have to hear from democrats. how democrats will run in the fall. this is what he said. >> after they drove the car into the ditch, made it as difficult as possible for us to pull it back, now they want the keys ba back. no. you can't drive. we don't want to have to go back into the ditch. we just got the car out. # we just got the car out. >> how do you respond to that? >> sounds like he wants to run against george bush one more time, doesn't it? i mean, look, the american people have taken a look at what
this administration has done. they run in banks, insurance companies, car companies. they nationalized the student loan business, which will kill 31,000 private sector jobs. they've taken over health care. they're about to do to financial services what they did to health care the appointees at the fcc are trying to take over the internet. they will double the next debt in the next five years, triple it in ten. the american people are appalled by this. in your own "wall street journal" pole, i'm paraphrasing, basically the american people have made up their mind and it will be very, very hard for the democrats to change their mind. we're looking at a mid-course correction here. we would like to see the president be the moderate he campaigned as. that's to move more republicans to the house and senate to move this administration back to the middle. i hope the last two years. >> if the economy continues to
produce jobs, 573,000 between january and april, it's a projected 1.72 million jobs created over a full year. if that happens, do you think president obama deserves credit? >> well, what we know now is 3,000 private sector jobs were lost since the president came to office. they've added 260,000 government jobs. the only boom town in america is washington because they're exploding government employment. hiring new government workers by borrowing money from our grandchildren. i hope the economy is beginning to come back. it would have to come back a long way for anybody to believe the stimulus plan, which is sold to us, to keep unemployment at 8% has worked. unemployment is at 10%. we're not making much headway so far. >> we'll leave it there. thank you very much. >> thank you. a super tuesday of sorts in just two days.
our round table weighs in on all the big races and what's behind this anti-incumbent wave? mike murphy and bob trump. four decades ago the debate over nominating a woman in the supreme court. r "meet t press" e debatover nminati a wom to the supremeou oy here announcer: in today's markets how can you get your investments heading in the right direction? at oppenheimerfunds, our fund managers' perspective on the numbers helps uncover opportunities no matter which way the markets are moving. ask your advisor about oppenheimerfunds. call your advisor for a prospectus with complete fund information. read it carefully and carefully consider fund investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing. mutual funds are subject to market risk and volatility. shares may lose or gain value. oppenheimerfunds. the right way to invest.
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welcome to all of you. for the first couple weeks i keep welcoming people to the new dig. welcome to the new digs. >> thank you. >> this is a sweet set. >> i don't know. we're all very excited about hd. so much to talk about. let's start with the president standing here as we get set if this mini super tuesday. here's his job approval according to our new "wall street journal" nbc poll. he's at 50%. i smoke to somebody close to the president this week who said, look, he gets 53% of the vote in 2008. not bad for everything going on? >> well, not good enough if the election were held today the democrats would lose the house there's no question there's a put back in the country. he's governed as a liberal. he ran as a moderate. his numbers are in decline. he's not up.
but his policies are up for referendum. >> and bob shrum, what may contribute to that thinking is among seniors and other activist types, the enthusiasm gap between republicans and democrats is in the republicans' favor. >> i think that's likely to this change, although not certain. i agree with mike, by the way,that if if election were held today there would be a problem. there's a new ap pole that shows democrats suddenly backed with a lead in the congressional race. that's because people may be beginning to feel the effects of the economy. jobs are everything here. these job numbers really matter. i wouldn't yet call them midterm. last summer we saw a transforming august. in the era we live in, thingscan move very fast. i think perceptions here can move very fast. >> it is interesting. you write about this in the book. the promise. i'll hold it above the banner there. president obama, year one. what we're seeing in our poll is
something that we've seen for a while with president obama. people like him personally. they're not as sold on his policies. so his policies are less popular than he is as a man. you write in your book about that in terms of what started to happen for him in the course of year one. we'll put it on the screen. little by little n the second half of the year. this is his first year. obama lost much of his connection to the american people. some voters thought he was talking at a level over their head. he didn't have bill clinton's gift for making complex subjects fully sensible. it was the enverse of each other. folksy, but he did'thave bill clinton's gifts for makng complex subjects fully accessible. in fact, thewo presidents' relationships -- the publ were the inverse of each other. in 2009 the public >> you know, change is hard, david, and a lot of people weren't quite ready for all the change they got in year one of obama's presidency. he delivered in a lot of it.
they're only now beginning to feel the effects of that change. when barack obama came to office, the economy was losing 740,000 jobs a month in january of 2009. we're now adding about 250,000 jobs a month. so there has been a turn around. we have prevented another great depression from taking place. but unemployment is still 10%. americans vote and respond to the policies of the white house based on their pocketbooks in large measure. so what will happen this year will depend on what happens economically. >> they also respond to leadership qualities, pto peopl they have an affinity for. is there a parallel here? >> i am struck by the number of people who say they kind of like him. they kind of don't like his policies. whatever they think of him, they don't like his policies.
however, he stays roughly at 50% in approval. and i think likability. i think one thing that has changed for him in the past few months is that he has finally gotten off health care. which made his position very delicate and very hard for him and helped him lose some of the center. that's some of three points he's lost in the polls. it's interesting to me, also, that the president seems different from his party. his position seems stronger than that of the democratic party. he stays around 50. they stay around whatever. congress is about 20. the congress itself about 40. >> what are the implications, bob? there is a big difference there. >> at the risk of offending peggy, i think the arc of this
presidency is going to be a lot like reagans. in '82 people still liked reagan. he had a terrible job approval rating. the democrats who salivated to run against him in 1984 found out how wrong they were. the thing obama has done is he understood, he actually took a lesson from reagan. go early and go big. get the big changes done no matter how hard they are. and then ride the economic recovery up. in the end, 2012 is not going to be a good year for republicans. 2010, i think, depends on whether or not people depend, economic reality catches up with the perception of recession. there are some beginnings of signs that it is. >> let's talk about big issues now on the president's plate. elena kagan, nomination for the supreme court. kagan may be the best choice for the supreme court. plate. enaagan's nomination. sle have uespond to something that bob wrote. kagan may be the best choicefor
e supreme court, although there are dissenting lira we can already see that the strategy won't work fully. she'll be confirmed, but only after a faux battle with her make believe enemy radicalism. >> i'm shocked. here's what i think, i think since the democrats ran the assassination campaign of politics we've had two levels of supreme court nominations. one the real issues of the court and second the political show. they have the votes to confirm her. he pick ad center left justice that he thought he could get through. i'm not a big fan. i'm a conservative. that said, i think they have the votes. the politics will be secondary to the economy in big things. republicans are going to draw a pull on this. the idea that the harvard law school is a police where you don't want military recruiters
have going to be troubling to a lot of people. >> the argument was she wanted everybody to be able to serve in the military. how is that antimilitary? >> she took a strong line against the don't ask, don't tell policy. she was basically continuing the policies of her predecessors. i agree with mike. i think this is going to come up. the question of obama's relationship with the military, something i write a lot about in my book. there was a show down over perception of insubordination during the debates over in afghanistan last fall. the president bushed back very hard. and none of this came out at the time. i focus on this in my book. there is some tension there that remains. that by and large, he gets along pretty well with the military. but that this kind of issue could rub some of that raw.
>> the issue also of borg, he was known for being outspoken judge. he came into the hearings, and he said what he thought. shows you what good that did him. here you have particularly liberals who want to explore her view of executive power and whether she is closer to the bush administration when it comes to the power the executive has over detainees, over who gets their day in court and et cetera. >> i think since the bork hearings it's been very hard for young lawyers who want to go forward in the judiciary to learn anything but this. if you are forthcoming and share your thoughts, philosophies and views on the way up, when you get to your confirmation hearing for the court, they will put a noose around your head, hanging you with every interesting thing
you've ever said. i think they have not done a good job of vetting and bringing out the thoughts of supreme court nominees for a long time. let the nominees speak. let them be forthcoming. and the whole sense we've got that you can't say anything interesting on the way up ought to go away. oliver wendell holmes would not be on the supreme court. >> he couldn't have a confirmation hearing. >> but fair enough. we do have them now. they ought to summon thought and they ought to respect individual alty and taking a different view. and creativity frankly. >> barack obama, during the sotomayor preparations, he said in the oval office, i would not be confirmed for the supreme court with the system that we have right now.
>> here's what's going to happen. and this isn't going to change much. the senators are going to ask their questions. the nominee is going to give carefully rehearsed answers. they're going to be as noncontroversial as possible. then the process will move forward. i do coral with the rewriting of history to explain this. robert bork's real problem was he condemned the supreme court decision outlawing the poll tax. he condemned the one person, one vote decision he calls it in 1964. >> this is like -- >> he was out of the mainstream. >> i don't want to talk politics. >> obama is going to be the judge and republicans are going to scorn the policy. >> but no one who says the poll tax ought to be upheld is going to be confirmed. >> sit him down and talk to him and summon his thoughts. don't make accusations.
the accusations came within 45 minutes of the announcement. >> we're not going to relitigate bork. >> i want to talk about this. before we talk about the key races coming up on tuesday, i want you to frame what we're seeing here. who or what is behind this wave? >> it's simple. and it's from both parties. people think washington doesn't work. they think a politician, many of them voted for in the last presidential election to fix washington didn't fix it. they think the government is out of control. they think politicians are incompetent. this is an election year where it's a bad idea to be a professional politician in either party. on tuesday we're going to see arlen specter. >> you set me up nicely. let's start in pennsylvania. senator specter. he flipped, of course. he's now a democrat. used to be republican. he's up against sestak in a race that's close. there's a new poll that has
sestak ahead by seven. this is one of the big thrusts of the argument that sestak is making. he did it in an ad he's put together against senator specter. >> i'm joe sestak the democrat. i authorize this message. >> for 45 years arlen specter has been a republican politician. >> arlen specter is the right man for the united states senate. i can count on this man. that's important. he's a firm ally. >> but now -- >> my change in party will enable me to be reelected. >> arlen specter switched parties to save one job, his, not yours. >> as a practitioner of the dark arts of politics. >> he's only half a democrat, he's all politician. he's done. >> i think he is, too. he thought his whole cards was obama. this ad reassociated him with bush. he had one hope. and that is the safety net of
philadelphia. when rendell was running for governor, he lost almost every county in 2002. ran up huge margins. >> the government still thinks he'll get it by a little bit. >> he kind of looked down at the paper. >> he's not the most popular guy in the senate. he's going to lose. but in the stimulus debate when it really counted, what did he hold out for? a doubling of funding for cancer research. maybe because he's a cancer survivor, i'm a cancer survivor. this takes on more importance for us a. a lot of viewers will thank senator arlen specter for that in the years ahead. >> let's talk about arkansas. another tough race for an incumbent. that's blanche lincoln up against the lieutenant governor. she's ahead what looks like to be ten points. the issue here is she's not running at 50%. she needs 50% for a runoff here. as the national journal showed, peggy, on its cover that lincoln
is learning being a center ris is offering her little refuge from attacks on the left and right. a centerist democrat right now is being pressed and squeezed pretty hard because of health care and other issues. >> a few months ago they had a meeting with president obama. she stood and almost pleaded with him to understand the position of centerist moderate democrats. he stiffed her and said i'm doing what i'm doing. she's in trouble. one gets the impression it's not going to work for her. she is an incumbent. she does not have the part of her party that needs to be on fire. on fire. >> she's being attacked from the left. by the unions. >> she has to get to 50% to avoid a runoff. she's being attacked from the left. and this is spreading throughout arkansas and the electorate. she had a very bad approval/disapproval. she runs more weakly than
senator halder does. if she goes into a runoff she'll probably lose it. >> you have trey greyson and rand paul. rand paul has the strength of the tea party behind him here. >> it's a classic case of the, you know, the push back as gr greyson is a local politician. paul will probably win the primary. i think he'll win the general, too. but it will be closer. >> pennsylvania 12. this is john murtha's seat. tim burns, a republican, against mark critz. this is a blue-collar district. both parties saying they're slowing the momentum or hey, this is the kind of seat that will spell the end of the majority for democrats in the
hous house. >> these are working class democrats who went back. they did go for obama. not in great numbers as they went for john kerry. but they could conceivably trend back to the republican party. something that the democrats have going for them, though, i think we're seeing in blanche lincoln's race where she's moving against wall street. that's also resonating. just beating up on government suspect enough. >> final thing i want to look at peggy and mike. john mccain in a tough re-election battle. the issue is the politicians of immigration. this is ad that he is running. watch this. >> drug and human smuggling, home invasions, murder, we're outmanned. with all the illegals in america, more than half come through arizona. have we got the right plan? >> the plan is perfect. >> you bring troops, state, county, and local law enforcement together. and complete the dang fence.
it will work this time. >> senator, you're one of us. >> and yet, it was john mccain who sponsored comprehensive immigration reform. >> yes. oh the "dang" was the worst part of that. i don't know its impact. it seems desperate. >> do you have to round up and deport his principles? >> 30 seconds. >> because of the failure of the obama administration to protect the american border, people are getting killed and murdersed. it's become really bad in arizona. >> this is before obama, to be fair. >> it's gotten worse. it's a crisis they've failed to address. they've had a year to do something. they've done nothing. mccain is standing hup for them. >> is that not right? >> democrats don't want it. >> let me tell you what will happen. >> real quick. >> republicans will campaign against this. they're going to make it impossible to win the presidency.
>> neither party wants to close that border. >> we're going to continue our discussion with jonathan in our "meet the press" take two web extra. also read an excerpt from the book "the promise." find updates for me all throughout the week. up next, a fourth woman could soon sit on the supreme court. but 39 years ago it was a very different story. we look back at the debate over why a woman was not nominated that time around after this brief station break. national car rental?
we are back with our "meet the press" minute. if confirmed elena kagan would become the nation's fourth woman to serve on the supreme court. president reagan appointed the first woman back in 1981. ten years earlier then president nixon was tasked with filling two supreme court vacancies. mildred lily was under consideration for the second spot. more than 50 years after women were granted the right to vote, many had hope ad woman would
finally get her due. but on october 21, 1971, the president nominated william rehnquist for the job. later that week patricia roberts harris, the chair of the credential committee for the democrats' 1972 commission and a former dean of howard university law school appeared heren "meet the press" and spoke about why she believe ad woman should have been nominated. >> the nixon administration indicate ad woman was not picked for the supreme court because of discrimination in law schools and law firms have been so great there was a small pool of talent available. is this a valid excuse? are there really no qualified women who could have met the criteria? >> i do not believe it's a valid excuse. the president went to the department of justice for one of his candidates and within my direct knowledge there is in that department a superbly well
qualified woman who is head of the appeals and research section of the criminal decision. many others are available. the outstanding women are apparent. there's constance baker motley in new york. there are many candidates who may well have been picked for the spotd. >> president obama said he relished the prospect of having three women on the high court for the first time in history saying the bench would be more inclusive, more representative, more reflective of us as a people than ever before. and we'll be right back. (announcer) we're in the energy business.
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